As a massage therapist ready to open your own business, one of your first tasks will be to write a mission statement for your practice. This important statement defines who you are, what you do, and how you go about doing it. Entrepreneur Magazine reminds business owners that a mission statement “doesn't have to be clever or catchy -- just accurate.” If you can strike a balance between realism and idealism, your mission statement will be one that you and your employees can be proud of and turn to for focus as your practice grows and prospers.
Convene a group of your colleagues to help you brainstorm your mission statement. Encourage a free exchange of ideas, and don’t dismiss any idea at this early stage. A brainstorming session with like-minded people often results in taking a section of one statement and combining it with another until you agree on one that best represents your practice.
Set a generous timetable for brainstorming, writing, reviewing and revising your mission statement. Do not rush the process. Anticipate that the statement may undergo several revisions until you are completely satisfied with it. Give yourself at least a week to formulate your statement and more time if you need it.
Review the mission statements of other massage therapists or organizations that specialize in patient care and therapy. The goal is to gather and discuss ideas, not copy someone else’s statement. Reviewing other mission statements could help crystallize what you want to see in your own. For example, the mission statement of the American Academy of Family Physicians is to “improve the health of patients, families and communities by serving the needs of members with professionalism and creativity.”
Break down your mission statement into three parts: who you are, what you do, and how you do it. Use descriptive words and phrases to flesh out these three parts.
Focus intently on the third part of the mission statement, as this is the one that describes the heart and soul of your massage therapy practice. What makes you different from your competitors? What makes your practice special? How do you want your patients to feel after they leave your care? Answering these questions will help you formulate this section of the mission statement.
Review and discuss all the ideas for the three parts of the mission statement. As the boss, you may have veto power, but listen carefully to the ideas of your peers. You may not always be able to reach a happy compromise on each part, but validating everyone’s ideas will help everyone feel engaged in the process and important to the outcome.
Piece together the best of the three sections and give everyone time to think about this working mission statement. Distribute copies of it or post it on a wall so that everyone has time to read it, think about it, and suggest revisions.
Tweak the statement for clarity and specificity. A mission statement must be a practical yet personal and inspirational statement about your practice. If you can imagine repeating your mission statement to patients as you work with them, chances are you have created a purposeful and meaningful mission statement.
- As your massage therapy grows, revisit your mission statement periodically to ensure that it accurately reflects you and your business. Revise it only as conditions warrant.
- As a source of pride, mission statements appear in a variety of forums. Consider including yours on your website and on the back of your business card. Post a large copy in the waiting room of your practice.
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